10. LAND AND CREDIT

WE now examine some of the methods by which the owner of property can raise credit.

The most simple method is, of course, the straightforward cash loan given without any security except the creditor's faith in the debtor's honesty. Such loans are frequently taken by traders who, seeing an opportunity to make a quick profit on a certain line of goods, borrow money for a short period only. The rates of interest charged are high 6d.in the pound per month (i.e. 30 per cent per annum) is the usually stated minimum, but rates of up to 2s. 6d. in the pound (i.e. 150 per cent per annum) are often cited. Such high rates are illegal if charged by licenced money-lenders, and in this, as in other types of transaction, the document usually states the sum to be paid on the redemption date, as if this were the amount borrowed free of interest. Interest is paid not at fixed periods, but in a lump sum with the repayment of the principal. Such loans are usually intended to be for periods ranging from one or two weeks to a year, but rarely longer.

The owner of land or of a house can lease it; forms of tenancy have already been discussed in previous sections. But the lease of land brings only an insignificant cash income in the form of rent or ișakǫle+̧, while the man who leases a house to tenants has usually built it for this very purpose; a man does not usually vacate his own house, leasing it while he lodges with relatives. Palm trees are leased annually to Urhobo oilmakers for an agreed number of tins of oil to be paid at the end of the year. The cocoa farmer may give out his cocoa plot in one of two ways: if he will be working near the farm he may arrange a sharing of the income with the lessee -- one-third of the crop being used to pay labour, one-third to the lessee and one-third for the owner; the man who does not trust the lessee to divide the crop fairly will fix a price and may demand to be paid in advance; this obliges the lessee to tend the farm well to get the maximum return for himself. These are all annual arrangements. Cocoa-buying firms and their middlemen still advance money to farmers on the promise that they will bring most if not all of their cocoa harvest to the creditors.

The man who cannot manage his cocoa farm or reap the palms, or who needs money, may pawn the trees to a creditor who reaps them until the debt is paid. There is no fixed rate -- rather does the amount loaned depend on the debtor's needs; the latter usually pawns his whole farm and not a carefully calculated fraction of it. These loans are essentially long term -- it is not envisaged that repayment will be made in less

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